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Dynamic counter in page title

     
2:19 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hello all and thanks for any tips.

Lets say we have a dynamic generated page (full page or part of it).
In that page we have a counter (examples include number of products on page, number of images on gallery, whatever you can think of).

Will affect my page in a positive way, if i put that counter on the title?
for example: <title>33 crazy asteroid photos here</title> in that order (first counter, then keywords)

I am worried mostly on google crawling
8:14 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'd be not so concerned about crawling, but more about ranking - specifically a possible penalty. The title is, arguably, the most important on-page element. Frequent changes to the title have caused some ranking problems for some people, although those people weren't just changing a number, they were changing semantically important content.

One factor that might be important is how frequently any page's title would change under your proposed situation. Would it be every time googlebot comes around?

If you feel that the number would be helpful to see in the search results, how about dynamically inserting it in the description?

And another idea - if you do want to try this direction, I'd suggest testing it on one page, or just a few pages first rather than going site-wide in one jump. I can see that it might help you get better click-through as long as it doesn't drop your rankings.
10:00 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If I was going to think about doing it I'd go the other way:

<title>Crazy Asteroid Photos - 33 & Counting!</title>
4:55 pm on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We added numbers to page titles in a hyper competive industry sucessfully in order to diiferentiate from competitors. We added the counter not just to the title but also in the meta description and incorporated it into the page content to. I would recommend the format:

<title>Crazy Asteroid Photos - 33 Photos of Crazy Asteroids </title>

Our counters didnt change more than once a month and we only saw positive results.
5:56 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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well, our counters change more often than once per month - some per hour, most once per day, very few once per week or more.

The pages with the busy counters are also our top pages (highest ranks and most visits).
10:29 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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As Tedster pointed out there is strong evidence that tweaking keywords in titles too often can lead to ranking problems and I was concerned about this too.

After much thought though we concluded there there was a huge difference between manipulating keywords in a title and modifying a number which ultimatley improves the user experience.

If the numbers are not going to increase wildly (digit wise) then there shouldn't really be an issue.

As always it's best to test these things on a small percentage of your pages first...
 

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